Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5 Ways To Stay Fit And Active When It Gets Cold Outside

We had our first frost this weekend and it got me thinking (sadly) about the upcoming colder weather and shorter days. I think we all find it more difficult to get motivated and stay active as the number of daylight hours start shrinking. These ideas might help out a little bit.

1. Staying Dry.
This is probably the most important factor in enjoying the colder weather. If your clothing gets wet, from sweat, rain, snow, or whatever, you will not be happy. Heat loss is accelerated if your body gets wet from evaporation and conduction, and you will be cold. Find a way to stay dry at all costs. Your outermost layers should be waterproof, including jackets, pants, and especially footwear. I try to find Gore-tex or similar material for my winter running shoes as they keep my feet both warmer and dryer.

2. Layering.
No matter what the activity is, I follow the same rules for layering in the winter.

  •  Base layer - Wicking layer including tights and long sleeved shirt. I tend to prefer Under Armor's Cold Gear, but anything similar does a great job wicking sweat away, and providing a bit of warmth.
  •  Thermal layer - A thicker layer goes on next and holds in body heat. Find something that isn't too bulky and allows free movement, but still keeps you toasty. Stuff with Thinsulate, or similar type material is best.
  •  Wind/Waterproof Outer Layer - Keeping both wind and wet from touching your body is critical to enjoying the outdoors. As mentioned in point #1, Gore-tex or similar material does the best job at this. If you're going to be out at night, make sure you have reflective material incorporated as well.
3. Find More Light!
The shorter winter daylight hours can be a real downer. It can sometimes be enough to cause mild depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, which certainly decreases motivation. Take advantage of bright sunny days, and find a way to get sun exposure when you're at work. Get outside at coffee breaks, recess, lunchtime, whatever. Get the lights on at home, and open up the blinds to let as much natural light in as possible. Going to work in the dark, and coming home in the dark isn't much fun.

4. Take Advantage of Fall's Bounty
We often get in the mindset that summer is the time for the best food, but I actually like fall's offerings better.
This is an opportunity to get wonderful, healthy fruits and vegetables like corn, pumpkins, squash, apples, yams. Here are some amazing links to using some of these great ingredients, and here, and here.

5. Go Inside. 
I've finally admitted to myself that there are some days that even I can't go outside and get my run in. Finding a good gym, or some good quality home equipment makes up for it. 

When checking out gyms, make sure their hours work for you. Do you need a 24 hour gym? Are they excessively busy when you want to go? Look at the quality of the machines. Do they keep it well maintained? If you like the looks of the gym, ask for a short trial membership before you commit.

If you're going to the effort of buying home equipment, get the best quality you can afford. If you buy it from late night TV, or purchase without trying it out first, you have only yourself to blame.

Well, again, I want to hear from you. What else do you do to get through the colder months?
Let me know!


  1. Your kids are so cute! Well, I live down here in Atlantic Coast of Florida. I've only lived here for about a total of 5 yrs and so far,I've only experienced possibly lowest of 40's (daytime)
    during our only cold month (January). Still, this is wayyy too cold for me. When it gets down to 60's outside, I don't like going out anymore although I see a lot of tourists in their shorts walking or biking around, many are at the beach too! I might still be able to use some of your tips so I'll keep them in mind. And I'll try to think of Canada winters when I'm complaining about our mild winters here. God bless U & your family!

  2. Thanks for reading! In the dead of winter I often wish we were in Florida too!

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    1. Cool. Would like to try MMA training sometime. Not sure I want to get in a ring anytime soon though!